December 2018, Vol. XXIV, No. 4

Article Index



The IEW Edition

In this month's issue, we celebrate two joyous occasions: International Education Week (IEW) and the holiday season!

A joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education, IEW is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. In honor of IEW, PAX students hold presentations about their culture throughout the community. From live renditions of their national anthem to food, dance, poetry, and more, we share what students were up to in this month's issue.

Additionally (and always fun), we have a look at how the PAX community is celebrating the holidays and gearing up for winter!


—The PAX Press team


2) IEW Contest Winner

International Education Week was also the theme of the PAX Student Contest #2. When all the votes were counted, Tursunai from Kyrgyzstan was the big winner!

International Educational Week is over! It was so much fun! I managed to do eight presentations.

I tried to make my presentations interesting. I played our national instrument oz komuz, made a poster with pictures of Kyrgyzstan, brought different Kyrgyz things made of felt with Kyrgyz ornaments, brought Kyrgyz money and explained how many ice creams you could buy with it. I displayed my favorite Kyrgyz tradition Tisho Toy; it was fun, and the winners got souvenirs. I even added some memes to make it interesting!

In my presentation, I talked about geography, interesting facts, the government system, my city (Bishkek), demographics (people, religions, culture), history, folklore, the flag and national emblem, sports, the World Nomad Games (and invited everyone to WNG 2020!), climate, places to visit, national house, costumes, food, instruments, the education system, and my school day! I explained the goals of FLEX and PAX. I cooked our national food, borsok, three days in a row, and I’m very glad everyone liked it.

It was such an amazing experience! I felt a lot of responsibility during IEW, because I’m an ambassador of my country, the FLEX program, PAX, and also... my family. People learn about Kyrgyzstan from me, and I was excited and a little nervous. But everything went well. IEW was such a great opportunity to show appreciation for my own culture and break some stereotypes. It was inspiring! Now, I’m charged with a lot of positive energy from people who watched my presentations. I’m so thankful to FLEX and PAX for this! 

—Tursunai (FLEX, Kyrgyzstan), hosted by the Dow family (IN)

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Tursunai (FLEX, Kyrgyzstan) takes a break from her International Education Week presentations for a photo shoot around town. Taken under the direction of her 18-year-old host sister and photographer Kaitlyn, the collection adds an additional aesthetic element to the FLEX student's IEW story. [Images: Kaitlyn Dow Photography]


 3) IEW Videos

"Доброго дня! Мене звати Софія Туголукова, мені 16 років і я українка." With this Ukrainian phrase, I started every presentation that I did during International Education Week. The first few words were an introduction, “Hello, everyone! I’m Sofiya Tuholukova, and I’m a Ukrainian girl.” Then, I explained why I am in the U.S. and what it means to be an exchange student with the FLEX program. It was a pleasure to talk about my country in America.

Read more about Sofiya's IEW Click here



4) IEW Stories


5) Students of the Month


FLEX December Nominee

December FLEX SOM Catalina Starry Night Beauty Revue 425x425

PAX is excited to nominate Catalina Pasari, a FLEX exchange student from Moldova and Armory, MS to be the December FLEX Student of the Month.

Catalina has been involved in many events and school activities during her time in the U.S. so far, and she is looking forward to what the rest of her exchange year will bring! One of her favorite American school traditions was homecoming week, where she not only dressed up every day of the week, but had the opportunity to choreograph all of the skits performed at the pep rally. She acted in one of the skits, too! Catalina appreciates that she was able to bring leadership, organization, and creativity to this school event, and share her culture with American students while doing so. For her awesome work during homecoming week, she was presented with a PRIDE (Positive Recognition Inspire Daily Excellence) award by her school principal!

Catalina takes seven classes at her Mississippi high school. After school, she often volunteers at a local nursing home. She paints the ladies’ nails, plays board games with residents, and reads for them. This is where she has completed most of her 35+ hours of community service, along with some work at the Red Cross and with her local church youth group. For International Education Week, Catalina shared her presentation in two different classes, cooked Moldovan pie and soup for her church community, and taught the church youth group folk dances.

Notably, Catalina took part in the Starry Night beauty revue at her high school. Catalina and the other contestants practiced for a month before the contest. Although she did not win, she says, “I did not see it like a contest, but like a concert, because it was not about the most beautiful girl or boy, it was about teamwork and supporting each other. We helped each other as much as we could. We all contributed in the creation of choreography; we gave advice to each other about the choice of dresses; and we tried to make everybody to feel like a family.”

We are sure that Catalina will continue to impress this year with her joyful personality and open-minded attitude. It is with pride that PAX nominates Catalina Pasari as FLEX December Student of the Month!

—The PAX Sponsored Team


YES December Nominee

December 2018 YES SOM Moez 425x425

PAX is happy to nominate Moez Boussarsar, a YES exchange student from Tunisia and Flagstaff, AZ to be the December YES Student of the Month.

Moez demonstrates all the great characteristics of a successful YES exchange student. He became involved in community service and school events quickly and enthusiastically. The very week he arrived, he began volunteering, joined the city soccer league, impressed many classmates with his Rubik’s cube skills, and placed second in the state cubing competition!

He receives “A” grades in all of his classes, which include Physics, Graphic Design, Psychology, Business, U.S. Government, and English. As the result of a discussion in Government class, he led a campaign effort to register new U.S. voters, since many students in his class turned 18 in time to vote in November. Moez also spends a considerable amount of time tutoring other exchange students in math/calculus. For IEW, Moez dressed in his traditional attire every day of the week, brought in halva and other treats for his classmates, and presented about Tunisia.

Moez volunteers at the church his host family attends, assisting with childcare and special events. He is also participating in a kindness campaign through his Psychology class, and he volunteers to read to children each week at the family food center where homeless and low income families are provided dinner every day. He has currently completed over 40 volunteer service hours.

The Seelhammer family says of hosting Moez, “He fit right in with our family. He’s attended and volunteered with us at the annual Festival of Science, joined us in touring colleges with our son, and taught us to cook the foods of his country.” With its Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff is a great place for Moez to be hosted, as he hopes to study astrophysics in college. He has been attending local astronomical society events, and learning about telescopes and astronomy.

Moez has amazing cubing skills, and participates in international and state cubing events. He has won state awards which led to news coverage of him and the YES program.

Moez is a cheerful, outgoing, helpful, and curious young man who has made many friends and joins in wherever he can contribute. At PAX headquarters, we know of Moez from his “one-handed cubing” video submission to the “PAX’s Got Talent!” contest in which he was a finalist. We are proud to nominate Moez Boussarsar as YES Student of the Month!

—The PAX Sponsored Team


6) "Home" for the Holidays!

Thanks so much to all of you who answered the call for your best snowy, season's greetings type shots—we love seeing how your (expanded) family is celebrating the season!

  • Lena - Germany

    'Tis the Season!

    Lena (Germany) | Day family (MN)

  • Yaiza - Spain

    The Finishing Touches

    Yaiza (Spain) | Tubb family (MS)

  • Suppawadee - Thailand

    Tiring Time of Year...

    "Love" (Thailand) | Justman family (MI)

  • Bela - Spain

    Just so...

    Bela (Spain) | Blum family (LA)

  • Mariya - Bulgaria

    YES Students Snag One!

    Mariya (Bulgaria) & Ayca (Turkey) | Howard family (UT)

  • Lea - Germany

    Seriously in the Spirit

    Lea (Germany) | Schutte family (MN)

  • Chiara - Italy

    Ice-Skating Italian

    Chiara (Italy) | Waddell family (WA)

  • Aylara - Turkmenistan

    Now, it's Official

    Aylara (FLEX, Turkmenistan) | Aldrich family (NY)

  • Raquel - Philippines

    First Real Tree

    Raquel (YES, Philippines) | Shroyer family (IN)

  • Yuliia - Ukraine

    NC Christmas Party

    Ukrainian, Latvian, Indian, Japanese, & Spanish Season's Greetings!

  • Zoryana - Ukraine

    Jingle All the Way!

    Zoryana (FLEX, Ukraine) | Wach family (IN)

  • Bohdan - Ukraine

    Ukrainian-American Tree

    Bohdan and Anna (FLEX, Ukraine), hosted in Texas